From waste to resource

The recent advances in the research in the area of wastewaters treatment done by the group of Professor Tao He from Shanghai Advanced Research Institute (SARI), was recently highlighted by Chinese Academy of Science (English version / Chinese version). The primary focus was given on the results of on-going BRICS project “From waste to resource”, as well as the research supported by National Science Foundation of China and The Newton Advanced Fellowship from Royal Society (Professor Huabing Yin from Glasgow University). Particularly, on the understanding of fouling and scaling of hydrophobic membranes used in membrane distillation for treating wastewaters which are the targeted waste streams of the project. Via close collaboration with Dr. Alexey Volkov from A.V.Topchiev Institute of Petrochemical Synthesis, Russia Academy of Sciences, the team discovered a slippery effect, a hydrodynamic phenomenon on scaling and fouling resistance of the superhydrophobic membranes. The conventional thermodynamic XDLVO and nucleation theory are not able to explain the contradictory results in literature. The new theory gives a complete picture of occurrence of fouling and scaling problem in membrane distillation. It also provide fundamentally different concept to design membranes and processes for antifouling and anti-scaling membrane distillation technology.